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Vancouver Shipyards will build BC Ferries' cable ferry

(L to R) Brian Carter, President Seaspan Shipyards; Mark Wilson, Vice President Engineering, BC Ferries; and Jonathan Whitworth, Chief Executive  Officer, Seaspan at contract signing on February 26, 2014. - Photo submitted
(L to R) Brian Carter, President Seaspan Shipyards; Mark Wilson, Vice President Engineering, BC Ferries; and Jonathan Whitworth, Chief Executive Officer, Seaspan at contract signing on February 26, 2014.
— image credit: Photo submitted

BC Ferries announced today that Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards of North Vancouver has been awarded the $15 million contract for the construction of a new cable ferry to service the Buckley Bay – Denman Island route.

After almost ten months of detailed design development, a Request for Proposals for construction of the cable ferry was issued in September 2013 to three shortlisted shipyards; two in Vancouver and one in Seattle. Bids were received in late October 2013 and reviewed by the BC Ferries' project evaluation team. A recommendation to award the contract to Vancouver Shipyards has recently been endorsed by BC Ferries' Board of Directors.

"BC Ferries followed a rigorous, world-wide competitive tendering process for the new cable ferry to ensure we receive a high quality vessel at a competitive price," said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries' Vice President of Engineering. "We are pleased that Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards is the successful bidder and the ship will be built here in British Columbia."

"Seaspan has a long-standing history of working with BC Ferries and we are very pleased they are investing in this new vessel and helping Seaspan invest in its shipyard workers and our new facility," said Brian Carter, President, Seaspan Shipyards. "We are proud to partner with BC Ferries to build its first-ever cable ferry and today's announcement is a frther demonstration of our commitment to establishing Seaspan Shipyards as a world-class shipbuilding and ship repair centre of excellence on the West Coast."

Key highlights of the contract include:

• Fixed-price

• Guaranteed delivery date

• Milestone installation payments secured by refund guarantee

"The cable ferry provides substantial cost savings of over $80 million over the 40-year life of the project compared to the current service, and these significant cost savings of $2 million per year will help reduce pressure on future fare increases across the coastal ferry system," said Wilson.

The 78.5 metre cable ferry will accommodate 50 vehicles and 150 passengers. After undergoing extensive crew training and familiarization, the cable ferry system is expected to be in operation on the Buckley Bay – Denman Island route in the summer of 2015.

On February 20, 2014, British Columbia Ferries Commissioner Gordon Macatee granted approval to BC Ferries for a capital expenditure for a new cable ferry and associated infrastructure. The Commissioner concluded the proposal was reasonable, prudent and consistent with the current Coastal Ferries Service Contract, and the long-term capital plan established by BC Ferries. The Commissioner engaged independent experts to review and confirm both the design and financial analysis of the project. In his announcement, the Commissioner indicated he was satisfied that the cable ferry will meet the needs of local residents and contribute to the sustainability of B.C.'s ferry system.

Contracts for the new terminal infrastructure to accommodate the cable ferry system will be awarded shortly.

— BC Ferries

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